Cate O'Brien - Supervised by Nick Terrill and Anthony Ryan, Oleksandr Mykhaylyk, Chris Holland, University of Sheffield
This project seeks to develop new microfluidic devices to enable testing of a range of polymeric materials under extensional flow with a focus on understanding the response of a new class of polymers, termed ‘aquamelts’ to imposed stress fields. By introducing this capability we envisage further insight into these material’s solidification pathway and structure development during flow, paving the way for both fundamental understanding and practical application development of this new class of materials.
The project will aid the ongoing development of both mapping and time resolved aspects of the microfocus capability on I22. It will stretch the new software and infrastructure aspects of the beamline and will be in prime position to exploit the new BCO upgrade utilising the variable beamsize capability to explore the flow characteristics of this exciting class of materials.
Any sample environments developed during the course of the project will be made available to the wider SAXS community at the conclusion of the project.
Andrew McClusky - Supervised by Andy Smith/Jonathan Rawle(I07) and Karen Edler/Steve Parker , University of Bath
Andrew's project aims to deliver user-friendly software that can use coarse-grained modelling techniques to develop models for soft matter systems. This software is driven by the increasing need for models capable of describing complex systems from both SAXS and GiSAXS data which is becoming ever easier to collect but more challenging to analyse.
Building on ongoing work as part of the joint UK/US CCPSAS project in which K Edler and N Terrill are involved, the aim is to develop a model builder, first for SAXS data, but ultimately for complex thin-film systems where the data is collected in GiSAXS mode.
The model builder will be compiled in such a way as to be capable of integration with DAWN such that modelling can begin as soon as reduced data is available.
The project focuses on studies of interactions between model silica species with organic templates, single molecule initially, but building towards micelles. This work is novel and of scientific interest but also amenable to the modelling approach proposed. Studies of the formation processes for templated porous materials are still of crucial importance for the production of tailored scaffolds for gas & pollutant sorption, catalysis, sequestration/delivery and low k films for electronics to name only a few applications. In addition the project is looking at how the same coarse grained models of micelles can be used as a starting point to develop GiSAXS patterns.
Eleonore Mason - Supervised by Nick Terrill and Adam Squires/Kim Watson/Rebecca Green, University of Reading
Eleonore's project builds on the growing collaboration between Adam Squires and Nick Terrill extending their study of Soft Nanomaterials to exploit the recently developed GiSAXS installation at Diamond for membrane protein research. The project, looking at Lipid Cubic Phases, aims to understand and enhance their roles as platforms for protein crystal growth and will involve extensive collaboration with the Membrane Protein lab here on site.
The experiments to be carried out on lipid cubic phases will exploit our recently-developed ability to produce macroscopically oriented lipid cubic phase samples, to enhance biological research in two directions:
1. To test the hypothesis that it is possible to grow larger, better-quality membrane protein crystals from macroscopically oriented lipid cubic phases, and
2. To test predicted theories suggesting that different proteins and membrane components preferentially locate in areas of high or low bilayer curvature.